Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP443

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
22 April 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Cincinnati, USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten) Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming on 22 April 1887.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Describing the countryside around Cincinnati and the spring flowers in the woods, with botanical and common names; flower roots sent to Miss Jekyll; instructions to let the house (in England) for up to six months if possible; money earned from lectures, lectures scheduled in Bloomington Indiana, Sioux City Iowa and Kansas but no others so far; possibility of travelling to California if a lecture can be given in San Francisco; Diphtheria; enclosing press cuttings with instructions to keep any sent together as they may be useful material for a book; enclosing a Canadian stamp and a hunting story [press cutting] for Willie (neither present).; Press cutting headlined "Colors in Animals. Their uses clearly explained" reporting on Alfred Russel Wallace's lecture at Smith & Nixon's Hall, Cincinnati; annotated in Alfred Russel Wallace's hand "Cincinnati Enquirer Ap 23/87 A bad lamp! Which went out in the mid of the lecture!!!"; Press cutting from "The Post" undated (c. Apr 1887) headlined "Dr. Wallace. A scientist of world-wide reputation in Cincinnati" with brief details of Wallace, motioning his opinion of Henry George in relation to land monopoly and his forthcoming lecture at Smith & Nixon's Hall.

Record contains:

  • enclosure (2)
  • letter (1)
  • envelope (1)

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LETTER (WCP443.443)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/26(1)
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information





April 22. 1887

My dear Annie

I have just got your letter this morning dated April 4th. I wrote to Violet & Willie last week. I have since been in the country 3 miles out of the city seeing some nice woods with a good many flowers out. I sent off yesterday 2 small boxes to Miss Jekyll with some with some nice flower-roots, among them a fern which the botanists here say is Cystopeteris fragilis but it looks to me different. It is now coming up in in layer patches in the woods. I also sent today just before receiving your letter a small box containing a lot of picked flowers, just as a sample of what the spring flowers are here though I am afraid they will hardly be recognizable on arrival. The woods here carpeted with Dicentra cucullaria the (Dutchman's Breeches) and another species D. canadensis' like our clump of fern leaved Dielytra at back of garden only yellowish instead of pink. Also quantities of a very pretty small Anenome thatictroides, and the pale pink spring beauty (Claytonia viriginica.) numbers of yellow, blue & whitish violets, beautiful patches of a little annual, Collinsia verna, with blue & white [[2]] flowers called here "Blue eyed Mary" or "Innocence", clumps of Phlox divaricata, pinkish purple, and a fine orange-yellow poppy [3 words illegible]. The yellow clog’s tooth violet also abound, with Podophyllun not yet in flower, and Trillunus[?] purple and white just coming on. By the side of a stream we found Merteusia virgennica in flower. The country round here is very pretty, undulating, with numbers of small valleys & ravines in which there is often some remains of the original forests, while most of the country in pasture, the grass being as fine and green as in England, and with the absence of hedges and the numbers of trees & clumps of wood about looking quite park-like. It is a very rich locality for birds, insects, & fossils, as well as land-shells, all of which are there or four time as numerous as in England, with much finer & more varied species. It is only in the woods however that there are any flowers. In the grass fields, so far as I have seen there are absolutely more except dandelions and sometimes some clumps of the spring beauty. When I get further west to the prairies, I expect to find a different lot of flowers [[3]] altogether.

If you get an offer, which does not seem likely, you can let the house for 3 or 6 months. I shall probably be back about the middle or latter end of July as it will not do to wait here living in hotels, but you will be able to find some nice place for us to be till the house is ready for us again.

I am going to lecture tonight but as it is pouring with rain I fear there will be a small audience & that I shall get nothing from it as I give it on the chance . I have one other lecture here for which I shall get only $.35 clear (= £7) & then I go on to Bloomington in Indiana on Tuesday for 1 lecture, & then to Sioux City in Kan Iowa for 3-- after that 2 in Kansas & that is all I have. If I find I can get a cheap return ticket to California I will go, and one lecture in San Francisco will cover the extra expense. I shall decide that at Kansas I will write to you from there. I am very sorry about the Diptheria but it can't be helped.



My lecture last night was better than I expected & produced $50 profit. I enclose some newspaper cuttings -- The lamp was so bad I could hardly read which caused my "drawling"-- & at last it went quite out , but I went on till another was procured & the incident was rather amusing to the audience. The Canada & the hunter’s story are for Willie. Any cuttings I send you keep together as I think I shall have materials for a small book when I come home & they may be useful. I keep a journal noting my movements every day. I have taken a ticket to St. Louse on way to Sioux City & shall probably write you again from there or from Kansas City about the end of next week. I think from my experience here that I could really do well as another lecturing tour with an agent to arrange matters in advance & see among other matters that the lamp shall not go out! I am going to see some ancient mounds & hunt for arrow heads tomorrow & expect to find something interesting. With love to Willie & Violet & kind remembrances to all friends.

Believe me | Your Affectionate Husband | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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